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The Wrestler's BodyIdentity and Ideology in North India$
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Joseph Alter

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076976

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076976.001.0001

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The Individual Re-Formed

The Individual Re-Formed

(p.256) Chapter 11 The Individual Re-Formed
The Wrestler's Body

Joseph S. Alter

University of California Press

This chapter argues that wrestling casts the body in a particular light. Various regimens, in conjunction with certain symbolic structures, have the effect of building the body up to larger-than-life proportions. The regimentation to which the wrestler's body is subject does not produce a wholly disembodied pugilist such as might be the product of Western forms of discipline, where body is radically dissociated from mind, and where the rank-and-file individual is regarded as a mere machine. Since Hindu philosophy and practice does not make the same distinction between mind and body, the individual is not objectified in the same way when subject to various forms of discipline. As Narayan Singh pointed out, the first step of any exercise begins with the questioning the self, and proceeds along a direct path of regimentation to a subjective experience of self as whole and healthy.

Keywords:   wrestling, body, regimentation, wrestler, mind, Hindu, philosophy, Narayan Singh, exercise, self

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